Translation:Arukh ha-Shulchan/Even Haezer/1
When G-D created His world, (He Created) the human being, both "man and woman", as it says: "And G-D blessed them and he said to them 'be fruitful and multiply; fill the land and control it" (Genesis 1:28)
Therefore, after the flood, (G-D) blessed Noah and his children, as the verse says "And the Lord blessed Noah and his sons, and he said to them: be fruitful and multiply and fill the land" (Genesis 9:1). (The reason for this is) because He wanted the world to be populated , as the prophet (Isaiah) said "He created it not (as) a waste- He formed it to be inhabited" (Isaiah 45:18).
When Israel was exiled to Babylonia, (G-D) sent them the prophet Yirmiyah (who said.) "Take a woman and give birth to boys and girls". In other words: Do not say 'Since we are in exile, why should we produce?'- Rather, you are obligated to (continue) to do all of the commandments that G-D commanded you to do, and G-D will deal with us as He wishes. (CORRECT?)
There is a positive commandment on all of the men of Israel to take a woman and fulfill the commandment of 'be fruitful and multiply'. Therefore, the verse (first) blesses Noah and then commands him and his children in the precepts of Torah. (As it says) "And you shall be fruitful and multiply and order to full the land and live there" (CORRECT?) -This verse is a commandment to produce, and the first verse (which was brought) is a blessing. (Rashi).
(This commandment includes that one) have many children, because from this the world is inhabited. Therefore, even if one fulfilled the commandment of having children- and his son died- he is obligated to take another wife (if his first one is to old to have children or died) and have another child, as we will explain. The reason for this is because the commandment entails that we "inhabit the world", and because ones son died- he did not fulfill the commandment of "inhabiting" (Tractate Yevamos).
Therefore, when Hezekiah did not get married and have children, because he knew through divine inspiration that the children that would come from him were not righteous. The prophet told him in the Name of G-D that 'you will die in this world and you will not live in the world to come.
- (Hezekiah asked: Why so bad? He replied: Because you did not try to have children. He said: the reason was because I saw by the divine inspiration that the children issuing from me would not be so righteous. He said to him:) What have you to do with the secrets of the All-Merciful? You should have done what He commanded and let the Holy One blessed be he, do that which pleases him. (translation of the tractate from: Halakhak.com)
Concerning what our Rabbis of Blessed memory said, that on the day that many decrees where imposed on us- (from then on) it was not proper to get married and have children, this was said at a time of pain, in order to increase the prayers (of the people). For this reason, the later authorities (the Rishonim and acharonim) do not bring this quote down. (The Beit Yosef also writes this.) Another explanation: In that situation, they were praying for the (evil) decrees to pass. Also, this passage was only referring to people who already fulfilled their obligation of "be fruitful and multiply" (Tosaphot).
(translators note: as the Aruch Ha-Shulchan will later explain, the bare minimum obligation that "be fruitful and multiply" entails- is to give birth to a son and a daughter.)
- Our Sages say: Anyone who does not fulfill the commandment of "be fruitful and multiply"- is considered as if he shed blood, as it says "who sheds man's blood" and near this verse, it says "and you: be fruitful and multiply". Therefore, it is implied that (one who does not have children) is considered as if he shed blood, as it says " in the image of G-D, He made man", and it also says "and you, be fruitful and multiply". Also, the Divine presence will leave Israel (if it does not have children,) as it says " He will be for you a G-D, and to your children after you". (This means:) In the times of your children, the divine presence will continue to dwell (among you). If there is no children after you the continue
Anyone who lives without a wife- lives without joy, blessing, good, peace, Torah, and without protection or support. In fact, he is not even considered a "man", as it says "and woman he created, and he called him- man", as a man without a woman is divided from (the other half of his creation-his wife.)
When one gets married - one diminishes and (?) his sins, as it says "Who finds a wife, finds great good, and obtains the favor of G-D", because (by getting married), one draws himself away from sin, because he is tied to his house (i.e. his wife), and therefore produces the wishes of G-D.
The Holy One Blessed Be He calls a woman (man's) "helper", as it says "it is not good that man should be alone, I will make him a help mate for him" (Genesis 2:18)
Women however, are not obligated in the commandment of 'be fruitful and multiply'. The reason for this is because in the first verse (which was addressed to Adam) the verse says 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the land and control it" and in the second verse concerning Noah it does not say "control it", in order to teach you that the obligation to fill the land is incumbent upon males- and not females, because it is not in their nature to go out to war. Another reason is because (we are taught in Yevamos 75b) that when G-D told Jacob: "I am G-D, be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 30:11)- He did not say (be fruitful and multiply) in the plural (which would imply that both the man and woman are required in the commandment, but rather said it in the singular.) From this we learn that only (men) are required (to have children). Concerning the (first verse which was quoted, which was addressed to Adam and Eve,) which was addressed in the plural- it was giving a blessing, not a commandment (Tosaphot).
Concerning what is said in Parshat Noah, where it says in the Parshat Noah in the plural form (to be "fruitful and multiply"), it was to include Noah and his sons, as is evident from the context of the verse. Therefore, the verse was careful to say: "you be fruitful and multiply". In other words: That the obligation (of having children) is incumbent on Noah and his sons (and not his wife and daughters,), as it is written in the beginning of the verses discussing this: "And G-D blessed Noah and his sons". This excludes women, although they are also included in the blessing of having children. This is evident from the fact that women also have the desire (to have children), as it is written in the beginning of the Parsha 'anyone who has the desire to have children is blessed, like a man blesses his wife.
The Ramah writes, that although woman are not obligated in the commandment of ‘be fruitful and multiply’, some say that a woman should not be without a man because of her desires (חשדא- MEANING?)
However, in the Tosephta in tractate Yevamos (ch.8), it says that women are permitted to be without a man. The Rambam also writes this, saying that woman are allowed to not get married or may get married to an officer. However, he also writes that it is a commandment incumbent on the Sages not to leave a woman (unmarried) in order to ensure that she is not suspected (of sleeping with other men).
In fact, it really all depends on the circumstances: in a situation where there is no suspicion- we do not apply this (principle) (Rabbi Levi Even Chaviv). Furthermore: nowadays, we do not try to force (woman to get married); rather it is just ideal that she does not live without a man, in order to distance herself from suspicion. [[wikipedia:Beer(Beer Hetiv).
Some scholars write that even though women are not obligated in the commandment of 'be fruitful and multiply', they are still obligated in the commandment of 'filling the world'. However, this good practice (of women getting married) is not the law, because the obligation of 'be fruitful and multiply' is given for the reason of "filling (the world)", as I have written. Because women are not commanded in 'be fruitful and multiply', they are not obligated in the commandment of "filling the world".
My opinion is clearly expressed in the words of the Rambam and all of the other authorities.
An undeniable proof for this is brought from what our sages of blessed memory stated:
- If a man is not able to have children- his wife may not force him to divorce her.
If one says that women are obligated in the commandment of "filling the world", why can't she force him (to divorce her?)
When the Baalei Hatosophot write that women are obligated in the commandment of "filling the world", they were not were not saying that they are obligated in the commandment of "filling the land"- but where rather saying that they play a part in fulfilling the obligation of "filling the world". And this is evident, because women are also involved in populating the world., and the verse "filling the world" - is not saying that they are obligated in it, but rather that this is just the way that Hashem created the world- which both men and women are involved in.
(translators note: Perhaps, the Tosaphot are saying that woman are obligated in the commandment of "filling the world"- because of their obligations to their husband, who have an obligation to "fill the world". (The author heard this halakah from Rabbi Mordechia Willig.)
Concerning what our Sages said concerning the commandment of Chalitza
Rabbi Achai says the following:
- And this law (of having children) is not limited to just Jews- even non-Jews are obligated in the obligation of 'be fruitful and multiply', as it is written "and you will produce and multiply"
(translators note: this was addressed to Noah and his children- who were non-Jews).
"However, in Parshat Noah, he writes: Jewish (men) are obligated in to take a woman and have sons (and daughters, as the Aruch Ha-Shulchan will go on to explain,) as it is written "and you will be fruitful and multiply".
(As was illustrated from the above quote, R' Achai) does not write there that non-Jews are obligated in this commandment, as the commandment of "be fruitful and multiply" is not included in the seven commandments of the son of Noah".
Our Sages also say this explicitly (Sanhedrin 59b) as do all of the other authorities in Jewish law.
In my opinion, (when) Rabbi Achai (wrote in one place that non-Jews are obligated in the commandment of "be fruitful and multiply" and in his commentary on Parshat Noah, he wrote that only Jews are obligated in this commandment, there is not a necessarily a contradiction,) because (when he wrote that non-Jews are obligated in the commandment of "be fruitful and multiply",) he was not saying that they have an absolute obligation to "be fruitful and multiply", because there
Servants are not obligated in the commandment of 'be fruitful and multiply'.
However, according to Tosaphot, they are obligated in the commandment of "be fruitful and multiply". Their reasoning is because